Color woodblock print
Sheet: 25.8 x 37.8 cm (10 3/16 x 14 7/8 in.)
Bequest of Edward L. Whittemore 1930.190
Hokusai designed this print series from the perspective of a confused nurse attempting to illustrate classical poetry, but missing the subtle allusions. This interpretation creates a comical disconnect between poem and image. The poem reads:
The wild hill pheasants
Drag their feet and drag their tails,
Splendid though they be,
Through this long, long weary night,
Like me, laying here alone.
Considered a god among poets, Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (about 660–739) wrote of an emotionally tiring night. The nurse thought instead of the physically exhausting work of fishermen dragging a net upstream. Smoke billows across the scene, directing our attention to a figure, perhaps the nurse, in the distant house.
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